If Home Alone presented the average boy’s nightmare, Disney’s Blank Check cashed in on his fantasy. Sitting at a juicy 13% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.1 rating on IMDb atop its meager $30.5 million box office haul, this movie writes checks only preteens can cash. After all, in 1994, these modern metrics of success meant nothing to 3rd graders looking for a good time. Preston Waters (Brian Bonsall) was the bee’s knees, the boy who lived high on the hog, the kid we all wanted to be. After the VHS ran out of tape, Blank Check left audience members desperate for a chance at the glory, the women, the money, practically anything Preston Waters got his hands on.
Without further adieu, please grab your ‘90s flannel, fanny pack, Sony Walkman and find out Where Are They Now? The Cast of Blank Check.
10. James Rebhorn (Fred Waters)
As Preston’s dismissive and uber-capitalist father, James Rebhorn embodied the role of Fred Waters. Applying his “every man” appeal with a dash of slight psychological torment, Rebhorn’s Dad was an unambiguous caricature of suburban American men. He may not be terribly likable, and he may even be a little stern, but Fred Waters motivates Preston to rise up and make something happen. Like forge a stranger’s check for one million dollars.
Appearing in over one-hundred films, James Rebhorn boasted one of the most impressive resumes of any actor. The 1990’s were particularly potent for Mr. Rebhorn, and while his good fortune undoubtedly culminated in the majesty of Blank Check, he also starred in Regarding Henry (one of JJ Abrams’ first-produced scripts), Independence Day, Basic Instinct, Scent of a Woman, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and many more. He kicked off the 2000s with his pointed attacks on poor Gaylord Focker, and before his death in 2014, he was a series regular on the hit TV shows, Homeland and White Collar. James Rebhorn will be missed.
9. Jayne Atkinson (Sandra Waters)
While more maternal and outwardly affectionate than her husband, Sandra Waters also appears unable to help give Preston a happy childhood. Maybe that’s the point of the movie’s narrative: to remind us that when we were eleven, we didn’t always like our parents that much either. Still, Sandra Waters helps hold down the fort until things really get out of hand.
Since Blank Check, Atkinson has built an impressive career in both film and television. On the silver screen, she starred in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village and Syriana, then parlayed her politically savvy roles into a thirty-episode arc on 24, as the Division Director of Homeland Security. Of equal significance, Atkinson has been a fixture of the Netflix phenomenon, House of Cards, which continues to rely on the actress’ role as Secretary of State Catherine Durant.
8. Tone Loc (Juice)
As “Juice” in Blank Check, Tone Loc brought a whole lot more to the film than his OJ Simpson-lite nickname. Indeed, the Grammy-nominated rapper behind “Funky Cold Medina” and “Wild Thing” channeled his acting talent for the Disney classic and almost stole the show. The results were pretty memorable, with Tone’s signature, rough voice digging into his crooked character who tries to salvage his boss’ stolen cash. He even appears to squeeze in a few drug references during his time in the otherwise innocuous Disney film.
It’s surprising that Tone Loc’s acting career hasn’t had more sustainable success. Still, Tone starred in Surf Ninjas, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and Michael Mann’s Heat all in a two-year span. That impressive streak waned a bit, though he had a role in the big-budget flop Titan A.E., and in the massive commercial success of this year’s Zootopia. Apparently, once you’re in the Mouse House, you never leave.
7. Karen Duffy (Shay Stanley)
In 1994, most of us kids had yet to go on an official date. Thanks to Preston Waters, however, we all got a taste of the glory. Enter Shay Stanley (Karen Duffy), the undercover FBI agent who gives Preston’s adolescent heart a wild ride. Sure, the age gap is a bit questionable, particularly when Shay plants a big one on young Preston, but who can blame him? The kid goes from zero to hero, proving that a million bucks and a limo can go a long way to buying you happiness. Just rewatch the fountain scene, and try to not be jealous.
1994 was a good year for Karen Duffy, which also saw her starring in Dumb and Dumber. After a string of TV guest spots and made-for-TV movies, she landed her most recent gig in 2009, as the voice of Linda Otter in Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox.
6. Miguel Ferrer (Quigley)
As the villainous “Quigley,” Miguel Ferrer brought some much-needed menace to Blank Check. Despite the fact that the escaped convict writes an angry child a blank check, thus proving his total incompetence, Quigley forces Preston to step up his game. The opening scene alone shows Quigley on the run in an intense Shawshank Redemption meets Top Gun title sequence. When he finds his hidden briefcase of cash, he literally asks it, “Did you miss me?” The man is out of control.
With over 120 credits on IMDb, Miguel has seldom gone wanting for work. After Blank Check, he lent his voice to Mulan (as Shan-Yu, a curious casting choice), filmed 117 episodes on Crossing Jordan, starred in The Manchurian Candidate, and played the role of Owen Granger on NCIS: Los Angeles for five years. After working on Shane Black’s Iron Man 3, Ferrer also reprised his earlier role on Twin Peaks in 2014 and will do so again in the series’ much anticipated 2017 return.
5. Michael Lerner (Biderman)
The fearful lackey of Quigley, Biderman the banker gets caught in the middle of a tyrant child and an angry criminal. When Juice commands him to cash a check, threatening to shoot him if he doesn’t comply, Biderman goes storming out of the office in a fury. He’s the kind of quasi-comical character that makes the real bad guys seem even worse.
Ultimately, Lerner has been one of the few Blank Check alums to reach the upper echelons of film making. While he has consistently been in front of the camera for movies like the the 1998 Godzilla and Jon Favreau’s Elf, the last ten years have delivered an impressive string of credits on Lerner’s resume. Having previously starred in the Coen Brothers’ Barton Fink, Lerner appeared in their cult hit, A Serious Man, as “Solomon Schultz.” After working on the Lily Collins-led Snow White feature, Mirror Mirror, he waded into comic book territory as Senator Brickman in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
4. Debbie Allen (Yvonne)
The party-planning assistant to Mr. Macintosh’s millionaire mind, “Yvonne” plays a slightly conniving role in young Preston’s world. After he begins to abandon his secret identity, Preston throws his pandering guests out in a Bruce Wayne kind of way, and actress Debbie Allen’s Yvonne does his bidding and shoos them out in style. As with many of Preston’s adult advisors, Yvonne brings a rather ridiculous form of leadership to his realm.
After Blank Check, Allen starred in the hit show, In The House, and racked up some guest star credits on series like Touched By An Angel and Cosby. Most recently, Allen hit her stride with films like Fame, Next Day Air, and a recurring role on Shonda Rhimes’ juggernaut hospital drama, Grey’s Anatomy.
3. Rick Ducommun (Henry)
The resident funnyman of Blank Check, Rick Ducommun’s “Henry” helped ease the pain of Preston’s dwindling bank account. In lieu of kids his own age, Preston had Henry as his limo-driver turned best friend, his primary confidante after entering the world of wealth. The lifelong stand-up comedian had his moments of unimpeded improvisation, much to the film’s benefit.
Rick Ducommun, like John Belushi or Chris Farley, took seemingly vapid roles and made them compelling. Having starred in Spaceballs, Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October and even Encino Man in the span of five years, Ducommun was clearly anything but common. After working on The Last Action Hero and Groundhog Day, he landed Blank Check, then went on to many guest starring TV appearances throughout the late 1990s. After working well into his 50s, Ducommun sadly passed away in 2015.
2. Alex Morris (Riggs)
The backup to Shay Stanley’s FBI agent, Riggs only appears in Blank Check for a few minutes, but each time he does, he receives a close up. However forced those camera angles may be, Alex Morris’ character remains memorable, even while the beautiful Karen Duffy can’t help but distract. Riggs’ insistence to complete the mission and bring down Quigley is ultimately triumphant, they we don’t get to see him revel in the glory.
Blank Check was the midpoint of a solid decade for Alex Morris. In addition to working alongside Sir Chuck Norris in Walker, Texas Ranger, he worked on over ten TV movies, and even had time for a seven-episode arc on Wishbone. Later, he played the role of “Trey” on Malcolm in the Middle, and filmed guest starring roles on some of the most popular network shows of the 2000s, including My Name is Earl, Monk, and most recently, Parks and Recreation, as “Judge Lankito.”
1. Brian Bonsall (Preston Waters)
In 1994, Preston Waters was the benchmark for boyhood. His childhood looked grim, stuck in the trappings of mediocre suburbia with no end in sight. That all changed when Quigley took out Preston’s bike and paid him off with a blank check. The kid simply knew how to turn lemons into lemonade. Detractors may target his prepubescent voice, his sulking demeanor, and even his million-dollar profligacy, but they fail to understand that he was a pioneer of his time.
Brian Bonsall ended his professional acting career on a high note, as Blank Check marked one of his final onscreen appearances. Leaving Hollywood for a career in music, Brian started several bands and moved to Boulder, Colorado. While he has since had some legal trouble, and thrown some bar stools at friends, Brian continues to fight the good fight of balancing his artistic passions with life in the real world. Apparently, the tireless spirit of Preston Waters is alive and well in the heart and soul of Brian Bonsall.
Who was your favorite character in Blank Check? Let us know in the comments below!